An SLC research team comprised of Chelsea Cayer, fourth-year student, Marie-Line Jobin, program coordinator, and Sara Beck, communication teacher in the Honours Bachelor of Behavioural Psychology program had their research accepted for presentation at the Canadian Psychological Association 83rd Annual National Convention in June 2022 in Calgary.
Last semester, the team conducted a research study to explore the experiences and needs of SLC students related to their fear of public speaking, whether giving presentations in-class or virtually. A total of 520 SLC students completed the online survey. In addition, as part of her academic thesis, Chelsea also reviewed the research literature on evidence-based practices in the field of behavioural psychology to decrease fear of public speaking and increase presentation skills.
The online survey results demonstrate a need and interest from students to partake in a group therapy/program to reduce public speaking fear and improve their presentation skills. In addition, the literature review findings support the use of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in combination with virtual reality as best practices.
According to the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, all graduates must be able to communicate verbally in a clear, concise, and correct manner. Additionally, they list verbal communication in the curriculum as an essential employability skill (EES).
This research study results demonstrate a need and potential benefit to create a fear-reducing and skills-building confidence group to be offered at SLC. Decreasing students’ fear and increasing their confidence and skill to present to an audience will support their future career success.
“It’s been an incredible experience to work with my program faculty in this research capacity, and an honour for it to be chosen to be among the research poster presentations at the conference,” Chelsea said. “I’m grateful to have had this opportunity at SLC and to my professors for their guidance and leadership.”
The Canadian Psychology Association is the national association for the science, practice, and education of psychology in Canada. With over 7,000 members and affiliates, the CPA is Canada’s largest association for psychology. With an average attendance of between 1,200 and 2,000 delegates, the CPA’s Annual National Convention brings together the nation’s best and brightest practitioners, researchers, educators and students.